Two weeks ago, Pastor David wrote the congregation to remind everyone about his upcoming sabbatical this summer. In the newsletter, he gave details and plans regarding what promises to be a much-deserved, restful and refreshing time away (May 20 — August 19). We hope this answered several questions about the “what” and “why” of a sabbatical.
As news of Pastor David’s planned absence is absorbed throughout our congregation, our staff has begun fielding inquiries that are really all different versions of one very important question: How is this all going to work for those of us not going on sabbatical? It’s a great question.
Looking at different aspects of Sabbath observance throughout the Bible, we can see two clear themes. The first is preparation. Beginning in Genesis 2, when our infinite and omnipotent God (who needs no rest) sets forth the Sabbath model, we see that he accomplishes much prior to the day of rest (see Genesis 1). He created the world and all that was in it and pronounced it good, which set the stage for a day to reflect on all that he had done. God later gives the command of the Sabbath to his people (see Exodus 20:8-11) and calls them to prepare for it by working hard the six days prior (see Leviticus 23:3). When we move to the New Testament in the gospel accounts, the Jews have been practicing Sabbath observance for thousands of years and the day before the Sabbath is then referred to as the “day of Preparation”—a time to get ready for the Sabbath (see Matthew 27:62, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, and John 19:31). Sabbath requires preparation.
Pastor David, the elders and the staff team have been relentlessly preparing for his sabbatical for months and we are ready. Preaching schedules have been assembled. While I will handle the bulk of that (and I’m looking forward to it!), Pastor Brady and a handful of others are also scheduled to preach Sunday morning sermons that point us to our Lord and Savior. Other tasks have been divided up and responsibilities will be shared. One or more elders will attend our staff meetings regularly. Karla Muzi, our Executive Director, will manage the administrative, planning and timeline aspects of the church throughout each week (she’s so good at all of that), and I will oversee the theological and pastoral care needs of our congregation. Pastor Mark and I will be working together each week to ensure that each worship service exalts and glorifies our mighty God. We are collectively excited for the opportunity to lead the church in this way and to rely on one another as co-laborers for the Gospel.
The other theme inescapably present in the Bible’s concept of Sabbath is trust. When God sets forth the model of working six days and resting the seventh and when he commands Sabbath observance by his people, he is calling us to trust he has given us all we need (gifts, skills, provisions and time). We must trust God to observe the Sabbath and so we invite you to join us in trusting God during Pastor David’s sabbatical. Come to church. Engage in the worship and ministries God has set out for us at NAPC. And surely know, amidst all the preparations and even the occasional moments of worry, our Lord is ultimately the one in control of everything anyway! “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. NAPC is our Lord’s church.
May Pastor David enjoy his sabbatical this summer, and may all of us continue to worship and grow closer to our amazing God during that time.
By His Grace,